Le serpent de mer

The Sun de New York (New York), dimanche 10 juillet 1904
s1Roderick Dyke (AUFOR): Magonia Exchange, 9 avril 2007
L'article d'origine
L'article d'origine

Vu dernièrement au large des côtes du Maine comme cela est rapporté par des capitaines de vaisseaux

Au rédacteur-en-chef du Sun — Monsieur : Les maîtres et équipages de 3 navires marchands naviguant entre la Baie de Penobscot et la Baie de Casca affirment avoir vu le serpent de mer en l'espace de quelques jours. L'apparence générale, la longueur, la circonférence et les évolutions du supposé serpent de mer vu par 3 marins correspondent dans les moindres détails avec le serpent de mer que le commandant Edward Preble, de l'U. S. N., a vu dans la Baie de Penobscot alors qu'il servait comme midshipman dans la Marine Continentale.

At that time Preble was in charge of a pinnace, which had a swivel mounted in her bow. On discerning the serpent, which seemed to be asleep on the surface of the water, and well within range of the swivel, Preble aimed and fired the gun. "The shot wounded the serpent, which thereupon raised its head, which was as large as a horsehead, humped its middle, which was of the circumference of twelve feet, and moved away at the velocity of about twenty knots an hour." The story of that sea serpent was one of the stock tales that Preble used to tell Bainbridge, Decatur and Lawrence at this table in the waters of Tripoli. A recent report of the voyage of a French cruiser gives an account of a sea serpent which in every detail corresponds with the description set down by Commodore Preble of the serpent seen by him in Penobscot Bay.

During interviews with several masters and sailors along this coast who claim to have seen the sea serpent within a few days, I learned that they had never heard the sea serpent adventure related by Commodore Preble ; nor had they heard the sea serpent story told a few weeks ago by the commander of the French cruiser. Sailormen along this coast who tank up with the prohibition brand of whiskey sold by the liquor agents appointed by the State of Maine usually see snakes, blue devils and sea serpents cavorting from the horizon to the zenith. But the sailor folk who have just come to this port with tales of the sea serpent are all sober and truthful men. A generation agone there were many old sailormen along New England's coast who believed in ghosts, devils, flends set to watch Capt Kidd's buried gold, warlocks, banshees and vampires. According to the superstitious marines of those days, masters, mates and sailors lost at sea invariably appeared as dripping wet ghosts knocking on the windows of their homes along this coast. In those times the sailorman who was not ready to swear that he had seen the Flying Dutchman and the sea serpent on several occasions was accounted a landlubberly lockadoodle who had made nothing more than a short voyage to the fishing grounds or to Cuba. To-day the sailor who claims he has seen a sea serpent believes that he is stating a bald fact.

G. Wilfred Pharon.

Portland, Maine, 8 juillet.